PROLOGUE There is a sharp turn just above the hill. The North Elba stage sometimes hesitatestherebeforetakingtheplungeintothevalleybelow. ButthiswaslateSeptember.Themorningwasbrisk,themountainsglorified,the tourists were going home. The four clattering, snorting horses swung into the turnandmadestraightforthebrow—thestout,ruddy-faceddriverholdinghard on the lines, but making no further effort to check them. Then the boy in the frontseatgavehisusual"Hey!lookthere!"and,theotherpassengersobeying,as theyalwaysdid,sawsomethingnotespeciallyrelatedtoAlgonquin,orTahawus, orWhiteface—thegreatmountainswhoseslopeswereablazewithautumn,their peaks already tipped with snow—that was not, indeed, altogether Adirondack scenery. Where the bend came, at the brink, a little weather-beaten cottage cornered—aplacewithappletreesandsomefadedsummerflowers.Intheroad in front was a broad flat stone, and upon it a single figure—a little girl of not morethaneight—herarmextendedtowardtheapproachingstage,inherhanda saucerofberries. Thetouristshadpassedanumberofchildrenalready,butthisonewasdifferent. Theothershadbeenmostlyinflocks—soiled,stringy-hairedlittlemountaineers, whohadgatheredtoseethestagegoby.Thesmooth,ovalfaceofthischild,rich under the tan, was clean, the dark hair closely brushed—her dress a simple garment,thoughofafashionunfavoredbythepeopleofthehills.Allthiscould be comprehended in the brief glance allowed the passengers; also the deep wistfullookwhichfollowedthemasthestagewhirledbywithoutstopping. A lady in the back seat (she had been in Italy) murmured something about a "childMadonna."Anothersaid,"Poorlittlething!" Buttheboyinthefrontseathadcaughtthedriver'sarmandwasdemandingthat hestopthestage. "Iwanttogetout!"herepeated,withdetermination."Iwanttobuythoseberries! Stop!" Thedrivercouldnotstopjustthere,evenhadhewishedtodoso,whichhedid not. They were already a third of the way down, and the hill was a serious
matter.Sotheboyleanedout,lookingback,tomakesurethemoment'svision hadnotfaded,andwhenthestagestrucklevelground,wasoutandrunning,long beforethehorseshadbeenbroughttoastand-still. "Youwaitforme!"hecommanded."I'llbebackinasecond!"Thenhepushed rapidlyupthelonghill,feelinginhispocketsasheran. The child had not moved from her place, and stood curiously regarding the approachingboy.Hewasconsiderablyolderthanshewas,asmuchassixyears. Her wistful look gave way to one of timidity as he came near. She drew the saucer of berries close to her and looked down. Then, puffing and panting, he stoodthere,stillrummaginginhispockets,andregainingbreathforwords. "Say," he began, "I want your berries, you know, only, you see, I—I thought I hadsomemoney,butIhaven't—notacent—onlymyluckypiece.Mymother's inthestageandIcouldgetitfromher,butIdon'twanttogoback."Hemadea final, wild, hopeless search through a number of pockets, looking down, meanwhile,atthelittlebowedfigurestandingmutelybeforehim."Lookhere," hewenton,"I'mgoingtogiveyoumyluckypiece.Maybeit'llbringlucktoyou, too. It did to me—I caught an awful lot of fish up here this summer. But you mustn'tspenditorgiveitaway,'causesomedaywhenIcomebackuphereI'll want it again. You keep it for me—that's what you do. Keep it safe. When I comeback,I'llgiveyouanythingyoulikeforit.Whateveryouwant—onlyyou mustkeepit.Willyou?" HeheldoutthewornSpanishsilverpiecewhichaschoolchumhadgivenhim "forluck"whentheyhadpartedinJune.Butthelittlebrownhandclungtothe berriesandmadenoefforttotakeit. "Oh,youmusttakeit,"hesaid."Ishouldloseitanyway.Ialwayslosethings. You can take care of it for me. Likely I'll be up again next year. Anyway, I'll comesometime,andwhenIdoI'llgiveyouwhateveryoulikeinexchangefor it." Shedidnotresistwhenhetooktheberriesandpouredthemintohiscap.Then thecoinwaspushedintooneofherbrownhandsandhewaspressingherfingers tightlyuponit.Whenshedaredtolookup,hehadcalled,"Good-bye!"andwas halfwaydownthehill,theotherslookingoutofthestage,wavinghimtohurry. Shewatchedhim,sawhimclimbinwiththedriverandflinghishandtowardher asthestageroundedintothewoodanddisappeared.Stillshedidnotmove,but
watchedtheplacewhereithadvanished,asifshethoughtitmightreappear,asif presently that sturdy boy might come hurrying up the hill. Then slowly—very slowly, as if she held some living object that might escape—she unclosed her handandlookedatthetreasurewithin,turningitover,wonderingatthecurious markings.Theoldlookcameintoherfaceagain,butwithitanexpressionwhich had not been there before. It was some hint of responsibility, of awakening. Vaguelyshefeltthatsuddenlyandbysomemarveloushappeningshehadbeen linkedwithanewandwonderfulworld.Allatoncesheturnedandfledthrough thegate,tothecottage. "Mother!" she cried at the door, "Oh, Mother! Something has happened!" and, flingingherselfintothearmsofthefadedwomanwhosatthere,sheburstintoa passionoftears.
CHAPTERI BUTPALADINSRIDEFARBETWEEN Frank rose and, plunging his hands into his pockets, lounged over to the wide window and gazed out on the wild March storm which was drenching and dismayingFifthAvenue.Aweavingthrongofcarriages,auto-carsanddelivery wagonsbeatupanddownagainstit,weredrivenbyitfrombehind,orbuffeted from many directions at the corners. Coachmen, footmen and drivers huddled down into their waterproofs; pedestrians tried to breast the rain with their umbrellasandfrequentlylostthem.Fromwherehestoodtheyoungmancould countfivetornandtwistedderelictssoakingingutters.Theyseemedsoverywet —everything did. When a stage—that relic of another day—lumbered by, the driver on top, only half sheltered by his battered oil-skins, seemed wetter and more dismal than any other object. It all had an art value, certainly, but there werepleasanterthingswithin.Theyoungmanturnedtotheluxuriousroom,with itswideblazingfireandtheyounggirlwhosatlookingintotheglowingdepths. "Doyouknow,Constance,"hesaid,"Ithinkyouareabithardonme."Thenhe drifted into a very large and soft chair near her, and, stretching out his legs, staredcomfortablyintothefireasifthefactwerenosuchseriousmatter,after all. Thegirlsmiledquietly.Shehadarichovalface,withadeeplookinhereyes,at once wistful and eager, and just a bit restless, as if there were problems there amongthecoals—questionsshecouldnotwhollysolve. "I did not think of it in that way," she said, "and you should not call me Constance, not now, and you are Mr. Weatherby. I do not know how we ever began—theotherway.Iwasonlyagirl,ofcourse,anddidnotknowAmericaso well,orrealize—agoodmanythings." Theyoungmanstirredalittlewithoutlookingup. "Iknow,"heassented;"Irealizethatsixmonthsseemsalongperiodtoa—toa youngperson,andmakesalotofdifference,sometimes.Ibelieveyouhavehad abirthdaylately."
"Yes,myeighteenth—mymajority.Thatoughttomakeadifference." "Minedidn'ttome.I'mjustaboutthesamenowasIwasthen,and——" "Asyoualwayswillbe.Thatisjustthetrouble." "Iwasgoingtosay,asIalwayshadbeen." "Whichwouldnotbetrue.Youweredifferent,asaboy." "Andwhogaveyouthatimpression,pray?" Thegirlflushedalittle. "Imean,youmusthavebeen,"sheadded,atrifleinconsequently."Boysalways are.Youhadambitions,then." "Well,yes,andIgratifiedthem.Iwantedtobecaptainofmycollegeteam,andI was.WeheldthechampionshipaslongasIheldtheplace.Iwantedtomakea recordinpole-vaulting,andIdid.Ithasn'tbeenbeatensince.ThenIwantedthe Half-mileCup,andIwonthat,too.Ithinkthoseweremychiefaspirationswhen Ienteredcollege,andwhenIcameouttherewerenomoreworldstoconquer. Incidentally I carried off the honors for putting into American some of Mr. Horace's justly popular odes, edited the college paper for a year, and was valedictorianoftheclass.Butthoseweretrivialthings.Itwasmyprowessthat gave me standing and will remain one of the old school's traditions long after thisfleshhasbecomedust." Thegirl'seyeshadgrownbrighterasherecountedhisachievements.Shecould not help stealing a glance of admiration at the handsome fellow stretched out before her, whose athletic deeds had made him honored among his kind. Then shesmiled. "Perhapsyouwereapillarofmodesty,too,"shecommented,"once." Helaughed—agentle,lazylaughinwhichshejoined—andpresentlysheadded: "Ofcourse,Iknowyoudidthosethings.Thatisjustit.Youcoulddoanything, andbeanything,ifyouonlywould.Oh,butyoudon'tseemtocare!Youseem satisfied,comfortableandgood-naturedlyindifferent;ifyouwerepoor,Ishould say idle—I suppose the trouble is there. You have never been poor and lonely and learned to want things. So, of course, you never learned to care for—for anything."
Her companion leaned toward her—his handsome face full of a light that was notallofthefire. "Ihave,foryou,"hewhispered. The girl's face lighted, too. Her eyes seemed to look into some golden land whichshewasnotquitewillingtoenter. "No,"shedemurredgently."Iamnotsureofthat.Letusforgetaboutthat.As you say, a half-year has been a long time—to a child. I had just come from abroadthenwithmyparents,andIhadbeenmostofthetimeinaschoolwhere girls are just children, no matter what their ages. When we came home, I suppose I did not know just what to do with my freedom. And then, you see, FatherandMotherlikedyou,andletyoucometothehouse,andwhenIfirstsaw youandknewyou—whenIgottoknowyou,Imean—Iwasgladtohaveyou come,too.ThenwerodeanddroveandgolfedallthosedaysaboutLenox—all thosedays—yourmemoryispoor,verypoor,butyoumayrecallthoseOctober days,lastyear,whenIhadjustcomehome—thosedays,youknow——" Again the girl's eyes were looking far into a fair land which queens have willinglydiedtoenter,whiletheyoungmanhadpulledhischairclose,asone eagertoleadheracrosstheborder. "No,"shewenton—speakingmoretoherselfthan tohim,"Iam older,now— agesolder,andtryingtogrowwise,andtoseethingsastheyare.Riding,driving andgolfingarenotalloflife.Lifeisserious—asortofbattle,inwhichonemust either lead or follow or merely look on. You were not made to follow, and I couldnotbeartohaveyoulookon.Ialwaysthoughtofyouasaleader.During thosedaysatLenoxyouseemedtomeasortofking,orsomethinglikethat,at play.YouseeIwasjustaschoolgirlwithideals,keepingtheshieldofLauncelot bright.Ihadidealizedhimsolong—theoneIshouldmeetsomeday.Itwasall very foolish, but I had pictured him as a paladin in armor, who would have diversions, too, but who would lay them aside to go forth and redress wrong. You see what a silly child I was, and how necessary it was for me to change whenIfoundthatIhadbeendreaming,thattheoneIhadmetneverexpectedto conquerordobattleforacause—thatthediversionsweretheendandsumofhis desire,withmaybealittlelove-makingasapartofitall." "Alittle—"Hercompanionstartedtoenterprotest,butdidnotcontinue.Thegirl was staring into the fire as she spoke and seemed only to half remember his existence. For the most part he had known her as one full of the very joy of
living,giventoseeinglifefromitscheerful,oftenfromitshumorous,side.Yet heknewhertobevolatile,acreatureofmoods.Thisone,whichhehadlearned toknowbutlately,wouldpass.Hewatchedher,alittletroubledyetfascinated byitall,hiswholebeingstirredbythecharmofherpresence. "Onesostrong—soqualified—shouldlead,"shecontinuedslowly,"notmerely lookon.Oh,ifIwereamanIshouldlead—Ishouldridetovictory!Ishouldbe a—a—I do not know what," she concluded helplessly, "but I should ride to victory." Herestrainedanyimpulsehemayhavehadtosmile,andpresentlysaid,rather quietly: "Isupposethereareavenuesofconquestto-day,astherewerewhentheworld was young. But I am afraid they are so crowded with the rank and file that paladinsridefewandfarbetween.Youknow,"headded,morelightly,"knighterrantryhasgoneoutoffashion,andarmorwouldbeaclumsythingtowear— crossingBroadway,forinstance." Shelaughedhappily—hersenseofhumorwasneververydeeplyburied. "Iknow,"shenodded,"wedonotmeetmanyGalahadsthesedays,andmostof the armor is make-believe, yet I am sure there are knights whom we do not recognize,witharmorwhichwedonotsee." Theyoungmansatupabitstraighterinhischairandassumedamorematter-offacttone. "Supposeweputasideallegory,"hesaid,"anddiscussjusthowyouthinkaman —myself, for instance—could set the world afire—make it wiser and better, I mean." The embers were dying down, and she looked into them a little longer before replying.Then,presently: "Oh,ifIwereonlyaman!"sherepeated."Thereissomuch—somanythings— for a man to do. Discovery, science, feats of engineering, the professions, the arts,philanthropy—oh,everything!Andforus,solittle!" A look of amusement grew about the young man's mouth. He had seen much moreoftheworldthanshe;wasmucholderinamannernotreckonedbyyears.
"Wedonotmonopolizeitall,youknow.Quiteafewwomenareengagedinthe professionsandphilanthropy;manyinthearts." "The arts, yes, but I am without talent. I play because I have been taught, and because I have practiced—oh, so hard! But God never intended that the world shouldhearme.Ilovepaintingandliterature,andallthosethings.ButIcannot create them. I can only look on. I have thought of the professions—I have thoughtagreatdealaboutmedicineandthelaw.ButIamafraidthosewouldnot do,either.Icannotunderstandlawpapers,eventheverysimpleonesFatherhas tried to explain to me. And I am not careful enough with medicines—I almost poisonedpoorMammalastweekwithsomethingthatlookedlikeherheadache dropsandturnedouttobeakindofpreparationforbruises.Besides,somehowI never can quite see myself as a lawyer in court, or going about as a doctor. Lawyers always have to go to court, don't they? I am afraid I should be so confused,andmaybebearrested.Theyarrestlawyersdon'tthey,sometimes?" "They should," admitted the young man, "more often than they do. I don't believe you ought to take the risk, at any rate. I somehow can't think of you eitherasalawyeroradoctor.Thosethingsdon'tseemtofityou." "That'sjustit.Nothingfitsme.Oh,IamnotevenasmuchasIseemtobe,yet can be nothing else!" she burst out rather incoherently, then somewhat hastily added:"Thereisphilanthropy,ofcourse.Icoulddogood,Isuppose,andFather wouldfurnishthemoney.ButIcouldneverundertakethings.Ishouldjusthave tofollow,andcontribute.Someonewouldalwayshavetolead.Someonewho could go among people and comprehend their needs, and know how to go to worktosupplythem.Ishoulddothewrongthingandmaketrouble——" "Andmaybegetarrested——" Theylaughedtogether.Theywerelittlemorethanchildren,afterall. "Iknowthereare women who lead in such things," she went on. "They come here quite often, and Father gives them a good deal. But they always seem so self-possessed and capable. I stand in awe of them, and I always wonder how theycametobemadesowiseandbrave,andwhymostofusaresodifferent.I alwayswonder." Theyoungmanregardedherverytenderly. "Iamgladyouaredifferent,"hesaidearnestly."Mymotherisalittlelikethat,
andofcourseIthinktheworldofher.Still,Iamgladyouaredifferent." Heleanedoverandliftedanendoflogwiththetongs.Abrightblazesprangup, andforawhiletheywatcheditwithoutspeaking.ItseemedtoFrankWeatherby thatnothingintheworldwassoworthwhileastobetherenearher—towatch herthereinthefirelightthatlingeredalittletobringouttherichcoloringofher rareyoungface,thenflickeredbytoglintamongthedeepframesalongthewall, toloseitselfatlastamidtheheavyhangings.Hewascarefulnottorenewtheir discussion, and hoped she had forgotten it. There had been no talk of these mattersduringtheirearlieracquaintance,whenshehadbutjustreturnedwithher parents from a long sojourn abroad. That had been at Lenox, where they had filledtheautumnseasonwithhappyrecreation,andalove-makingwhichhehad begun half in jest and then, all at once, found that for him it meant more than anythingelseintheworld.Notthatanythinghadhithertomeantagreatdeal.He hadbeenanonlyboy,withafondmother,andtherewasagreatdealofmoney betweenthem.Ithadsomehowneverbeenapartofhiseducationthatthosewho didnotneedtostriveshoulddoso.Hismotherwasawomanofideas,butthis had not been one of them. Perhaps as a boy he had dreamed his dreams, but somehowtherehadneverseemedareasonformakingthemreality.Theideaof mental and spiritual progress, of being a benefactor of mankind was well enough, but it was somehow an abstract thing—something apart from him—at least,fromthedayofyouthandlove.
CHAPTERII OUTINTHEBLOWYWETWEATHER TheroomlightenedalittleandConstanceroseandwalkedtothewindow. "Itisn'trainingsohard,anymore,"shesaid."IthinkIshallgoforawalkinthe Park." The young man by the fire looked a little dismayed. The soft chair and the luxuriousroomweresomuchmorecomfortablethantheParkonsuchadayas this. "Don'tyouthinkwe'dbetterputitoff?"heasked,walkingoverbesideher."It's stillrainingagooddeal,andit'squitewindy." "IsaidthatIwasgoingforawalkinthePark,"thegirlreiterated."Ishallrun, too.When IwasachildIalways lovedtorunthroughastorm.Itseemed like flying. You can stay here by the fire and keep nice and cozy. Mamma will be gladtocomeinandtalktoyou.Shewillnoturgeyoutodoandbethings.She thinksyouwellenoughasyouare.Shesaysyouhaverepose,andthatyourest her—shemeans,ofcourse,afterasessionwithme." "Ihavethegreatestregardforyourmother—Imightevensaysympathy.Indeed, when I consider the serene yet sterling qualities of both your parents, I find myselfspeculatingontheoriginofyourown—eh—ratherunusualand,Ihasten toadd,whollycharmingpersonality." Shesmiled,buthethoughtalittlesadly. "Iknow,"shesaid,"Iamatrial,and,oh,Iwanttobesuchacomforttothem!" Thensheadded,somewhatirrelevantly,"ButFathermadehisfight,too.Itwasin trade,ofcourse,butitwasasplendidbattle,andhewon.Hewasapoorboy,you know,andthestrugglewasbitter.Youshouldstayandaskhimtotellyouabout it.Hewillbehomepresently." Headoptedherserioustone. "I think myself I should stay and have an important talk with your father," he
said."Ihavebeengettingupcouragetospeakforsometime." She affected not to hear, and presently they were out in the wild weather, protected by waterproofs and one huge umbrella, beating their way toward the Fifty-ninth Street entrance to Central Park. Not many people were there, and, once within, they made their way by side paths, running and battling with the wind,laughingandshoutinglikechildren,untilatlasttheydroppeddownona wetbenchtorecoverbreath. "Oh,"shepanted,"thatwasfine!HowIshouldliketobeinthemountainssuch weatherasthis.Idreamofbeingtherealmosteverynight.Icanhardlywaittill wego." Hercompanionassentedratherdoubtfully. "IhavebeeninthemountainsinMarch,"hesaid."Itwasprettynasty.Isuppose youhavespentsummersthere.IbelieveyouwenttothePyrenees." "ButIknowthemountainsinMarch,too—ineveryseason,andIlovethemin allweathers.Ilovethestorms,whenthesnowandsleetandwindcomedriving down, and the trees crack, and the roads are blocked, and the windows are coveredwithice;whenthere'sabigdriftatthedoorthatyoumustclimbover, and that stays there almost till the flowers bloom. And when the winter is breaking,andthegreatrainscome,andthewind,—oh,it'snosuchlittlewindas this, but wind that tears up big trees and throws them about for fun, and the limbs fly, and it's dangerous to go out unless you look everywhere, and in the nightsomethingstrikestheroof,andyouwakeupandliethereandwonderifthe house itself won't be carried away soon, perhaps to the ocean, and turn into a ship thatwillsailuntilitreaches acountrywherethe sun shinesand thereare palmtrees,andmenwhowearturbans,andwheretherearemarblehouseswith gold on them. And in that country where the little house might land, a lot of people come down to the shore and they kneel down and say, 'The sea has broughtaprincesstoruleoverus.'Thentheyputacrownonherheadandlead hertooneofthemarbleandgoldhouses,soshecouldrulethecountryandlive happyeverafter." As the girl ran on, her companion sat motionless, listening—meanwhile steadyingtheirbigumbrellatokeeptheirretreatcozy.Whenshepaused,hesaid: "Ididnotknowthatyouknewthehillsinwinter.Youhaveseenandfeltmuch morethanI.And,"headdedreflectively,"Ishouldnotthink,withsuchfancyas
yours,thatyouneedwantforavocation;youshouldwrite." She shook her head rather gravely. "It is not fancy," she said, "at least not imagination.Itisonlyreading.Everychildwithafairy-bookforcompanionship, and nature, rides on the wind or follows subterranean passages to a regal inheritance.Suchthingsmeannothingafterward.Ishallneverwrite." They made their way to the Art Museum to wander for a little through the galleries.IntheEgyptianroomtheylingeredbythoseglasscaseswheremenand womenwhodiedfourthousandyearsagolieembalmedincountlesswrappings and cryptographic cartonnage—exhibits, now, for the curious eye, waiting whateverfurtherchangetheupheavalsofnationsortheprogressofanalienrace maybringtopass. They spoke in subdued voice as they regarded one slender covering which enclosed"ALadyoftheHouseofArtun"—tryingtorebuildinfancyherlifeand surroundings of that long ago time. Then they passed to the array of fabrics— bitsofolddraperiesandclothing,evendolls'garments—thathadfoundthelight after forty centuries, and they paused a little at the cases of curious lamps and ornamentsandsymbolsofavanishedpeople. "Oh,Ishouldliketoexplore,"shemurmured,asshelookedatthem."Ishould like to lead an expedition to uncover ancient cities, somewhere in Egypt, or India,orYucatan.Ishouldliketofindthingsrightwheretheywereleftbythe peoplewholastsawthem—nothere,allarrangedandclassified,withnumbers pastedonthem.IfIwereaman,Ishouldbeanexplorer,ormaybeadiscoverer of new lands—places where no one had ever been before." She turned to him eagerly,"Whydon'tyoubecomeanexplorer,andfindoldcitiesor—ortheNorth Pole,orsomething?" Mr.Weatherby,whowasstudyingafinescarab,nodded. "Ihavethoughtofit,Ibelieve.Ithinktheideaappealedtomeonce.But,don't you see, it takes a kind of genius for those things. Discoverers are born, I imagine, as well as poets. Besides"—he lowered his voice to a pitch that was meantfortenderness—"attheNorthPoleIshouldbesofarfromyou—unless," headded,reflectively,"wewentthereonourweddingjourney." "Whichweareaslikelytodoastogoanywhere,"shesaid,rathercrossly.They passedthroughthecorridorofstatuaryandupthestairwaytowanderamongthe paintings of masters old and young. By a wall where the works of Van Dyck,
RembrandtandVelasquezhung,sheturnedonhimreproachfully. "These men have left something behind them," she commented—"something whichtheworldwillpreserveandhonor.Whatwillyouleavebehindyou?" "I fear it won't be a picture," he said humbly. "I can't imagine one of my paintings being hung here or any place else. They might hang the painter, of course,thoughnotjusthere,Ifancy." Inanotherroomtheylingeredbeforeapaintingofaboyandagirldrivinghome thecows—Israel's"BashfulSuitor."Thegirlcontemplateditthroughhalf-closed lids. "Youdidnotlooklikethat,"shesaid."Youwereaself-possessedbigboy,with smartclothes,andanairofownershipthatcomesofhavingalotofmoney.You were a good-hearted boy, rather impulsive, I should think, but careless and spoiled.HadIsraelchosenyouitwouldhavebeenthegirlwhowastimid,not you." Helaughedeasily. "Now,howcanyoupossiblyknowwhatIlookedlikeasaboy?"hedemanded. "Perhaps I was just such a slim, diffident little chap as that one. Time works miracles,youknow." "Buteventimehasitslimitations.Iknowperfectlywellhowyoulookedatthat boy's age. Sometimes I see boys pass along in front of the house, and I say: 'There,hewasjustlikethat!'" Frankfelthisheartgrowwarm.Itseemedtohimthatherconfessionshoweda depthofinterestnotacknowledgedbefore. "I'lltrytomakeamends,Constance,"hesaid,"bybeingalittlenearerwhatyou would like to have me now," and could not help adding, "only you'll have to decide just what particular thing you want me to be, and please don't have the NorthPoleinit." Out in the blowy wet weather again, by avenues and by-ways, they raced throughthePark,climbinguptolookoveratthewind-drivenwateroftheold reservoir, clambering down a great wet bowlder on the other side—the girl as agileandsureoffootasaboy.ThentheypushedtowardEighthAvenue,missed the entrance and wandered about in a labyrinth of bridle-paths and footways,
suddenlyfoundthemselvesbackatthebigbowlderagain,scrambledupitwarm andflushedwiththeexertion,anddroppeddownforamomenttobreatheandto gettheirbearings. "Ialwaysdidgetlostinthisplace,"hesaid."Ihaveneverbeenabletocrossthe Park and be sure just where I was coming out." Then they laughed together happily,gladtobelost—gladitwasrainingandblowing—glad,aschildrenare alwaysglad,tobealiveandtogether. Theyweremoresuccessful,thistime,andpresentlytookanEighthAvenuecar, goingdown—notbecausetheyespeciallywantedtogodown,butbecauseatthat timeintheafternoonthedowncarswereemptier.Theyhadnoplansastowhere theyweregoing,itbeingtheirhabitonsuchexcursionstogowithoutplansand tocomewhenthespiritmoved. TheytransferredattheColumbusstatue,andshestoodlookingupatitasthey waitedforacar. "That is my kind of a discoverer," she said; "one who sails out to find a new world." "Yes,"heagreed,"andtheverynexttimethereisanewworldtobediscoveredI amgoingtodoit." ThelightswerealreadycomingoutalongBroadway,thisgloomywetevening, andthehomingthrongonthepavementswereshelteredbyagleaming,tossing tideofumbrellas.FrankandConstancegotoutatMadisonSquare,attheWorth monument,andlookeddowntowardthe"Flat-iron"—apillaroflight,looming intothemist. "Everywhere are achievements," said the girl. "That may not be a thing of beauty, but it is a great piece of engineering. They have nothing like those buildingsabroad—atleastIhavenotseenthem.Oh,thisisawonderfulcountry, anditisthosesplendidengineerswhohavehelpedtomakeitso.Iknowofone youngmanwhoisgoingtobeanengineer.Hewasjustapoorboy—sopoor— andhasworkedhisway.Hewouldnevertakehelpfromanybody.Ishallseehim this summer, when we go to the mountains. He is to be not far away. Oh, you don'tknowhowproudIshallbeofhim,andhowIwanttoseehimandtellhim so. Wouldn't you be proud of a boy like that, a—a son or—a brother, for instance?"
Shelookedupathimexpectantly—adashofrainglisteningonhercheekandin thelittletangleofhairabouthertemples.Sheseemedabitdisappointedthathe wasnotmoreresponsive. "Wouldn'tyouhonorhim?"shedemanded,"andlovehim,too—aboywhohad madehiswayalone?" "Oh, why, y-yes, of course—only, you know, I hope he won't spend his life building these things"—indicating with his head the great building which they werenowpassing,thegustsofwindtossingthemandmakingitimpossibleto keeptheumbrellaopen. "Oh,buthe'stobuildrailroadsandgreatbridges—nothousesatall." "Um—well, that'sbetter.Bytheway,Ibelieve yougotothe Adirondacksthis summer." "Yes,Fatherhasacottage—hecallsitacamp—there.Thatis,hehad.Hesayshe supposesit'sawreckbythistime.Hehasn'tseenit,youknow,foryears." "IsupposethereisnolawagainstmygoingtotheAdirondacks,too,isthere?" he asked, rather meekly. "You know, I should like to see that young man of yours. Maybe I might get some idea of what I ought to be like to make you proud of me. I haven't been there since I was a boy, but I remember I liked it then. No doubt I'd like it this year if—if that young man is there. I suppose I couldfindaplacetostaynotmorethantwentymilesorsofromyourcamp,so youcouldsendword,youknow,anytimeyouweregettingproudofme." Shelaughed—hethoughtalittlenervously. "Why,yes,"sheadmitted,"there'sasortofhotelorlodgeorsomething,notfar away.IknowthatfromFather.Hesaidwemighthavetostaythereawhileuntil ourcampisready.Oh,butthistalkofthemountainsmakesmewanttobethere. IwishIwerestartingto-night!" It seemed a curious place to discuss a summer's vacation—under a big windtossedumbrella,alongBroadwayonaMarchevening.Perhapstheincongruity of it became more manifest with the girl's last remark, for her companion chuckled. "Prettydisagreeableupthereto-night,"heobjected;"besides,Ithoughtyouliked allthisafewminutesago."
"Yes, oh, yes; I do, of course! It's all so big and bright and wonderful, though afterallthereisnothinglikethewoods,andthewindandraininthehills." Whatastrangecreatureshewas,hethought.Theworldwassobigandnewto her,shewasconfusedanddisturbedbythewonderofitanditspossibilities.She longedtohaveapartinitall.Shewouldsettledownpresentlyandseethingsas theywere—notasshethoughttheywere.Hewasnotaltogetherhappyoverthe thoughtoftheyoungmanwhohadmadehiswayandwastobeacivilengineer. Hehadnotheardofthisfriendbefore.Doubtlessitwassomeoneshehadknown inchildhood.HewaswillingthatConstanceshouldbeproudofhim;thatwas rightandproper,buthehopedshewouldnotbetooproudortoopersonalinher interest. Especially if the young man was handsome. She was so likely to be impulsive, even extreme, where her sympathies were concerned. It was so difficulttoknowwhatshewoulddonext. Constance,meanwhile,hadbeendoingsomethinkingandobservingonherown account. Now she suddenly burst out: "Did you notice the headlines on the news-stand we just passed? The bill that the President has just vetoed? I don't knowjustwhatthebillis,butFatherissoagainstit.He'llthinkthePresidentis fineforvetoingit!"Amomentlatersheburstouteagerly,"Oh,whydon'tyougo in for politics and do something great like that? A politician has so many opportunities.Iforgotallaboutpolitics." Helaughedoutright. "Trytoforgetitagain,"heurged."Politicianshaveopportunities,asyousay;but some of the men who have improved what seemed the best ones have gone to jail." "Butothershadtosendthemthere.Youcouldbeoneofthenobleones!" "Yes,ofcourse,butyouseeI'vejustmadeupmymindtoworkmywaythrough aschooloftechnologyandbecomeacivilengineer,soyou'llbeproudofme— that is, after I've uncovered a few buried cities and found the North Pole. I couldn't do those things so well if I went into political reform." Then they laughed again, inconsequently, and so light-hearted she seemed that Frank wonderedifhermoreseriousmoodswerenotforthemostpartmake-believe,to teasehim. AtUnionSquaretheycrossedbySeventeenthStreetbacktoFifthAvenue.When theyhadtackedtheirwaynorthwardforadozenormoreblocks,thecheerofan
elaboratedining-roomstreamedoutonthewetpavement. "It'sagoodwhiletilldinner,"Frankobserved."Ifyoursternparentswouldnot mind,Ishouldsuggestthatwegointhereandhave,letmesee—somethinghot and not too filling—I think an omelette soufflé would be rather near it, don't you?" "Wonderful!" she agreed, "and, do you know, Father said the other day—of course,he'sagentlesoulandtooconfiding—butIheardhimsaythatyouwere onepersonhewasperfectlywillingIshouldbewith,anywhere.Idon'tseewhy, unlessitisthatyouknowthecitysowell." "Mr.Deane'sjudgmentisnottobelightlyquestioned,"avowedtheyoungman, astheyturnedinthedirectionofthelights. "Besides," she supplemented, "I'm so famished. I should never be able to wait fordinner.Icansmellthatomelettenow.AndmayIhavepie—pumpkinpie— just one piece? You know we never had pie abroad, and my whole childhood wasmeasuredbypumpkinpies.MayIhavejustasmallpiece?" Half an hour later, when they came out and again made their way toward the Deanemansion,thewindhaddiedandtherainhadbecomeamilddrizzle.As they neared the entrance of her home they noticed a crouching figure on the lowerstep.Thelightfromacrossthestreetshowedthatitwasawoman,dressed inshabbyblack,wearingadrabbledhat,decoratedwithafewmiserableflowers. She hardly noticed them, and her face was heavy and expressionless. The girl shrankawayandwasreluctanttoenter. "It'sallright,"hewhisperedtoher."ThatistheIslandtype.Shewantsnothing butmoney.It'sachanceforphilanthropyofaverysimplekind."Hethrustabill into the poor creature's hand. The girl's eye caught a glimpse of its denomination. "Oh,"sheprotested,"youshouldnotgivelikethat.I'vehearditdoesmuchmore harmthangood." "I know," he assented. "My mother says so. But I've never heard that she or anybodyelsehasdiscoveredawayreallytohelpthesepeople." They stood watching the woman, who had muttered something doubtless intendedforthanksandwastotteringslowlydownthestreet.Thegirlheldfast to her companion's arm, and it seemed to him that she drew a shade closer as
theymountedthesteps. "Isupposeit'sso,aboutdoingthemharm,"shesaid,"andIdon'tthinkyouwill ever lead as a philanthropist. Still, I'm glad you gave her the money. I think I shallletyoustaytodinnerforthat."
CHAPTERIII THEDEEPWOODSOFENCHANTMENT ThatgreenwhichisknownonlytoJunelayuponthehills.Algonquin,Tahawus and Whiteface—but a little before grim with the burden of endless years— rousingfromtheirlong,whitesleep,hadputon,forthemillionthtime,perhaps, thefleetingmantleofyouth.Springlayonthemountaintops—summerfilledthe valleys,withallthegradationsbetween. To the young man who drove the hack which runs daily between Lake Placid andSpruceLodgethescenerywasnotespeciallyinteresting.Hehaddrivenover theroadregularlysinceearlierinthemonth,andhadseenthehillsacquireglory so gradually that this day to him was only as other days—a bit more pleasant thansome,buthardlymoreexciting.Withhiscompanion—hisonepassenger— itwasadifferentmatter.Mr.FrankWeatherbyhadoccupiedaNewYorksleeper thenightbefore,awakingonlyatdaybreaktofindthetrainpuffingheavilyupa long Adirondack grade—to look out on a wet tangle of spruce, and fir, and hardwood, and vine, mingled with great bowlders and fallen logs, and everywhere the emerald moss, set agleam where the sunrise filtered through. Withhiscurtainraisedalittle,hehadwatcheditfromthewindowofhisberth, andtherealizationhadgrownuponhimthatnowhereelseintheworldwasthere suchawood,thoughhewonderedifthemarvelandenchantmentofitmightnot lie in the fact that somewhere in its green depths he would find Constance Deane. Hehaddressedhurriedlyandthroughtheremainderofthedistancehadoccupied therearplatform,drinkinginthegloryofitall—thebrisk,life-givingair—the mysteryandsplendoroftheforest.Hehadbeenhereonce,tenyearsago,asa boy, but then he had been chiefly concerned with the new rod he had brought and the days of sport ahead. He had seen many forests since then, and the wonderofthisonespoketohimnowinalanguagenotcomprehendedinthose far-offdays. DuringthedriveacrosstheopenfarmcountrywhichliesbetweenLakePlacid andSpruceLodgehehadconfidedcertainofhisimpressionstohiscompanion —a pale-haired theological student, who as driver of the Lodge hack was